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Very little is known about the two martyrs' lives. Marcellinus, a priest, and Peter, an exorcist, died in the year 304, during the Diocletianic Persecution. Pope Damasus I claimed that he heard the story of these two martyrs from their executioner who became a Christian after their deaths. Damasus' account is the oldest source concerning these two martyrs. Damasus states that they were killed at an out-of-the-way spot by the magistrate Severus or Serenus, so that other Christians would not have a chance to bury and venerate their bodies. The two saints happily cleared the spot chosen for their death: a thicket overgrown with thorns, brambles, and briers three miles from Rome. They were beheaded and buried in that spot.
Two women, Lucilla and Firmina, assisted by divine revelation, found the bodies, however, and had them properly buried. They buried their bodies near the body of St. Tiburtius on the Via Labicana in what became known as the Catacombs of Marcellinus and Peter.
Taken from Alban Butler, Kathleen Jones, Paul Burns, Butler's Lives of the Saints (Continuum International Publishing Group, 1997), 14.